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La Mesa Dam overflows into Tullahan as riverside residents told to leave

(Updated 5:49 p.m.) Residents near La Mesa Dam in Quezon City were strongly urged to evacuate Tuesday noon as water from the dam started spilling into the Tullahan River.

Engineer Teddy Angeles, a dam official, said residents must evacuate now. Angeles said that as of 11:55 a.m., the water level at La Mesa Dam had reached 80.16 meters, beyond the spilling level of 80.15 meters.

A staff at the La Mesa Dam management said that as of 4:40 p.m., the water level reached 80.33 meters.

Jeric Sevilla, head for corporate communications of Manila Water, earlier said that the water in the dam "is steadily rising because of heavy rains."

"It is now continually spilling towards the Tullahan River," he said.

"We are calling on residents along the Tullahan River to heed the call for evacuation as the rains are expected to worsen this afternoon," Sevilla added.

Manila Water Co. is the company that administrates the La Mesa Dam.

The water spilled to the Tullahan River may affect residents in Quezon City, Valenzuela, Malabon and Navotas Cities.

Drag our map from left to right, and use the zoom in and zoom out buttons on the upper left side to view the residential areas around Tullahan River (highlighted in blue) that may be affected by the La Mesa Dam water spill.

View La Mesa Dam water starts spilling into Tullahan in a larger map

Quezon City

In Quezon City, Mayor Herbert Bautista said the city government has been asking the residents in potentially affected areas to evacuate since Sunday night.

"Kagabi pa at noong isang gabi namin sinasabihan ang tao. Nasa evacuation center na ang iba," he said.

Bautista, however, added that some families left one to two people behind to guard their belongings.

Henry Rubio of La Mesa Dam's Common Purpose Office said the Quezon City government has already sent personnel from its Department of Public Order and Safety to assist in the evacuation.

"Continuous po 'yang pag-apaw. Kung tuloy ang ulan, tuloy-tuloy din ang pag-apaw," Rubio told GMA News Online by phone. "Advised sila [mga residente] na 'wag muna babalik habang umaapaw pa 'yung dam."

At the Quezon City Social Services Department, Fe Macale, city social welfare and development assistant department head, said they have 4,861 families in 57 evacuation centers in 36 affected barangays.

The evacuees are being given cooked food, she said. 

Affected by the overflow were residents from:
  • Greater Fairview
  • North Fairview
  • Sta. Lucia
  • Gulod
  • San Bartolome
  • Sta Monica
  • Nova Proper
  • Nagkaisang Nayon 
  • Palmera Homes

"Ongoing pa po 'yung evacuations sa gilid ng Tullahan," said Lope de los Santos, communications officer of the QC LDRRMC. "Tinatawagan na namin 'yung mga tao sa mga barangay doon."

Valenzuela City

In Valenzuela, Mayor Rex Gatchalian said 369 families or 1,406 individuals have already been brought to eight evacuation centers.

"As early as Sunday meron nang preemptive evacuation sa communities near Tullahan," Gatchalian said in an interview on dzBB.

He said they intensified the  preemptive preemptive evacuation Tuesday morning, when they noted floodwaters were rising.

In a separate interview with GMA News Online, he said they made sure that the evacuees have beddings, clothes, medicines and food.

Affected by the overflow in Valenzuela were:
  • General T. De Leon
  • Marulas
  • Ugong
  • Karuhatan
  • Maysan
  • Parada
  • Paso de Blas
  • Bagbaguin
  • Mapulang Lupa
Caloocan City
Some 760 families have been evacuated from 36 barangays affected by the overflow of Tullahan River, according to city administrator Oliver Hernandez.
Some of the critical areas are Barangays 160, where some 300 families were evacuated; 161; 162; 163; and 164. The residents were brought to barangay halls, a chapel, and schools.
Hernandez said they started the evacuation Tuesday morning, even before the overflow, after receiving a report that the water is already rising.
“Nakatutok na kami kaninang umaga pa. May early report kami coming from PAGASA kaya may naka-deploy na na rescue teams sa Tullahan,” he told GMA News Online. 

Malabon and Navotas

Malabon City government has evacuated some 500 families affected by floods. Of the number, 131 families were living along Tullahan River. They were brought to Potrero Elementary School and a clubhouse of a nearby subdivision.

Malabon public information officer Bong Padua said they started the preemptive evacuation Sunday night.

“Sa 78-kilometer stretch ng Tullahan River ay 10 barangay ang sakop ng Malabon. Noong isang araw pa kami nagpe-prepare. Bago pa dumating yung bagyo nagpatawag na ng meeting si Mayor Len Oreta,” Padua told "Balitanghali" Tuesday.

On the other hand, Navotas Mayor John Rey Tiangco expressed hope they will not be affected by the overflow of La Mesa Dam.

“Since mababa na ang tide, sana hindi masyadong maapektuhan ang aming lugar dahil bago dito ay dadaan pa muna ang tubig sa Tullahan. Manageable naman po ang tubig ngayon dahil mayroon kaming 38 pumping stations,” he said. — Yasmin Arquiza, Patricia Denise Chiu and Amita O. Legaspi/KBK/HS/KG/RSJ, GMA News